Little League baseball returns to Lycoming County … with caveats | Five for the Weekend

Lycoming County, where the Little League World Series is held, is currently in the “high” level of community transmission, according to state Department of Health data.

By: - August 14, 2021 6:30 am

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Happy weekend, all.
With the tournament scheduled to begin next week, the Little League World Series announced Friday that it would close the event to the general public.

“The health and well-being of our teams and mitigating their exposure to COVID-19 must continue to be our main priority, as we conclude our World Series events,” Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO said in a statement Friday.

“With updated guidance from the CDC, and in consultation with our Pandemic Response Advisory Commission and medical advisors, we feel it’s essential to revert our attendance policy to unfortunately limit the spectators in Williamsport to the family and friends of our 16 participating teams and our highest-level volunteers and supporters. We are disappointed that we must rollback our spectators joining us in Williamsport this year, but are eager to provide a safe, enjoyable experience for the 16 teams who will compete in the World Series this summer,” Keener continued.

The decision comes as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country and in Pennsylvania. 

Lycoming County, where the Little League World Series is held, is currently in the “high” level of community transmission, according to state Department of Health data. 

“In May, our organization made the decision to move forward with our Little League Baseball and Softball tournaments this summer, with the focus of providing the boys and girls in our program that magical Little League World Series experience while protecting their health and well-being,” Dr. Daniel Lueders, Commission Chair, Little League International Board of Directors Member, and UPMC Sports Medicine Physician said. “As this virus evolves, we must continue to stay vigilant and do everything we can to reduce exposure of COVID-19 to our players and participants. Reducing fans in Williamsport is a disappointing, but necessary, measure we must make to support that effort at this time.”

The tournament is scheduled to begin next Thursday, and officials said the teams that advance to Williamsport “will receive 250 team passes for their friends, families, and community members.” The statement continued: “Additional passes have been committed to high-level volunteers and supporters, which will still be honored. All spectators, regardless of vaccination status, will also be strongly encouraged to wear a face mask when on the complex, especially while in any indoor facility during their visit.”

As always, the top 5 stories from this week are below. 

Acting Pennsylvania Health Secretary Alison Beam speaks at a press conference (Capital-Star file)

1. Pa. health officials are leaving mask mandates up to K-12 schools. A Senate committee has questions

Pennsylvania students and teachers will return to the classroom in a few weeks, and there are no plans for another statewide mask mandate. But that didn’t stop Senate lawmakers from railing against masking recommendations for K-12 schools.

Acting Health Secretary of Health Alison Beam, Education Secretary Noe Ortega, and acting Deputy Education Secretary Sherri Smith testified during a crowded Senate Education Committee hearing on Friday, outlining recommended COVID-19 health and safety guidelines for local districts.

Families, many with young children, were in the audience, holding anti-mask and anti-vaccine mandate signs. Attendees often booed when the officials cited scientific studies and fact-based recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While it still supports a return to in-person learning, the CDC updated its guidance to recommend universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status due to the delta variant.

Dr. Jonas Salk, pictured here, developed the polio vaccine, which has saved millions of lives. A simple story about a polio victim changed the writer’s mind (Photo courtesy of the Senator John Heinz History Center/The Minnesota Reformer).

2. I was an evangelical and an anti-vaxxer. Here’s what changed | Opinion

As hospitals again fill up with COVID-19 cases, the vaccinated are getting angrier at the unvaccinated. I get the anger. I also get what it feels like to be on the other side. Being an anti-vaxxer is a lot like being an evangelical Christian, and I’ve been both.

In the evangelical church of my adolescence, I was taught to believe we had a corner on The Truth. We had a duty to remain true to the “good news.” We accepted that we might be “persecuted” for our beliefs, but we were sure that the evidence (mainly the Bible) was entirely on our side. Our beliefs created a powerful sense of belonging. I was in the evangelical church long before social media, but the church’s vibrant youth program met all my social needs in a similar way. It was the equivalent of a Facebook bubble.

I fled from evangelicalism only to fall into another errant subculture when I was pregnant with my first child. I had been getting truly helpful care from holistic medical practitioners who, unfortunately, were convinced that vaccinations are damaging. I can scarcely believe it now, but once again I drank the Kool-Aid. The literature I absorbed — all published independently or by small presses — promised that if I raised my children “naturally,” I wouldn’t need vaccines to protect them from communicable diseases.

Then-acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Clark speaks next to then-Deputy U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference, where they announced that Purdue Pharma LP had agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges over the handling of its addictive prescription opioid OxyContin at the Justice Department on 10/21/20 in (Photo by Yuri Gripas-Pool/Getty Images).

3. Top Trump DOJ official’s letter staked out Georgia as path to a coup | Jay S. Bookman

On Dec. 28, a top official in the Trump Department of Justice circulated an extraordinary, potentially history-altering letter to his colleagues, writing that “I see no valid downsides” to issuing the letter and proposing that they “get it out as soon as possible.”

In that letter, reported this week by ABC News, Jeffrey Clark falsely claimed that there were such “significant concerns” about the legitimacy of the election in Georgia that Gov. Brian Kemp ought to call the state Legislature into special session to overturn the results and give Donald Trump the state’s 16 electoral votes.

That of course was a lie, a lie created to foment a coup.

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, addresses a crowd of Trump supporters at the Pennsylvania state Capitol on Saturday, Nov. 7, the day the presidential race was called for Democrat Joe Biden. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

4. Tioga County calls on Sen. Mastriano to stop ‘unnecessary chaos’ of forensic investigation

A Republican-controlled county in rural Pennsylvania has called for an end to the “unnecessary chaos” caused by a proposed forensic investigation into the 2020 general and 2021 primary elections.

In a Tuesday statement, the Tioga County commissioners pushed Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, to rescind his sweeping request for election equipment and voting records as part of reviewing the two most recent elections in Tioga, York, and Philadelphia counties.

All three counties declined to comply with the investigation.

Following Mastriano’s request, the Department of State also issued a directive prohibiting third-party access to voting equipment.

“The senator began his one-man quest with a false accusation, saying that if Tioga County did not give him what he wanted, it was because we had something to hide,” the statement, which was read during Tuesday’s board meeting, said. “The people of this county have nothing to hide, and Mr. Mastriano knows it. In fact, the only one who has made himself scarce since he made this blunder without the authority of his committee or the Senate is Doug Mastriano.”

State Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia, discusses a safe-injection site proposed for the city’s Kensington neighborhood (Philadelphia Tribune photo, reproduced by permission)

5.Pa. senator wants to establish liability for parents who ‘opt-out’ of mask mandates in K-12 schools

As some state lawmakers work to find ways around mask mandates in K-12 schools, one Pennsylvania state senator is planning added protection for families though he hopes it’s ultimately unnecessary.

Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia, says he wants to hold parents who refuse to comply with public school mask mandates liable if their child transmits COVID-19 or one of its variants to a classmate.

Williams began seeking co-sponsors for his proposal on Tuesday. And in a memo to colleagues, he said that rising case numbers, especially among children, should “strike fear into the heart of every parent.”

“While the last 18 months have been difficult for many, the COVID-19 pandemic is unfortunately far from over,” Williams wrote in a memo seeking colleagues’ support.

And that’s the week. See you back here next weekend. 

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared. Follow her on Twitter: @Wordsby_CassieM.

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